North Las Vegas police have arrested two suspects in a recent string of burglaries — one of whom had been wanted after a brief run-in with officers in October that led to police gunfire, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has learned.
Marissa Diaz, 29, and her alleged co-conspirator, 38-year-old Randall Cooper, were taken into custody just after 1 a.m. on Oct. 25, a week after police said Diaz rammed a patrol vehicle with a white Ford F-150 pickup. Police later linked the truck to at least 13 burglaries in the Las Vegas Valley, seven of which occurred in North Las Vegas.
Diaz and Cooper both face charges of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, grand larceny auto, obstructing a police officer, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property and trafficking methamphetamine, according to court records. Diaz faces additional charges of resisting an officer with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the car ramming.
Police have said that an officer — identified this week for the first time after a Review-Journal request as 35-year-old Robert Makinster — and his trainee encountered Diaz about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 18 while trying to stop the truck, which had fake plates. Police said that the suspicious truck initially pulled over in a nearby neighborhood, on the 4800 block of Polar Lights Court, but then reversed into Makinster’s patrol car, slamming the passenger-side door shut on the trainee.
Makinster, who has been with the Police Department for more than 11 years, shot at the truck multiple times as it sped away. North Las Vegas police spokesman Eric Leavitt said Wednesday that Diaz was not injured.
The pair’s Oct. 25 arrests came minutes after patrol officers found the pickup in a parking lot on the 2100 block of East Craig Road. According to Leavitt, the officers saw Diaz and Cooper running east on Craig, past Losee Road, shortly after locating the truck, and the two were taken into custody after a brief chase.
Court and jail records show that the pair were being held at the Clark County Detention Center, awaiting a negotiations hearing in North Las Vegas Justice Court on Dec. 12. Diaz was being held on $277,000 bail and Cooper on $245,000, according to the records.
Another police shooting
On Oct. 20, two days after Makinster had fired his weapon, another officer fired his gun at least once while pursuing a man believed to have been breaking into cars near Alexander Road and Revere Street.
The officer was Tyler Edwards, 27, who joined the department about two years ago, according to Leavitt.
Police have said that Edwards was asked to check on reports of car break-ins in the area just before 5 a.m. When he arrived, he found a man in his early 20s carrying a gun.
Edwards apparently chased the man until he jumped into the backyard of a house on the 4100 block of Aaron Scott Street and then into a nearby wash. He remained at-large as of Wednesday, according to Leavitt.
Police have not disclosed at which point during the chase Edwards opened fire. Police said that he was wearing a body camera but did not activate it.
Officers named weeks later
Both officers remained on paid leave Wednesday pending the department’s investigations into the shootings, according to Leavitt.
Neither Makinster nor Edwards were publicly identified until Wednesday, more than three weeks after the shootings, following a request from the Review-Journal.
Leavitt said that the department does not plan to hold any news briefings regarding the shootings, which marked the third and fourth North Las Vegas police shootings this year. He did not elaborate.
In the earlier police shootings, the department had identified the officers and held briefings within a week.
Leavitt on Wednesday said that the department’s policy on officer-involved shootings only states that an officer will not be named less than 48 hours after a shooting.
“A briefing or releasing the officer name is totally left up to the chief of police,” he said.